Monday, July 31, 2017

When Dirty Dishes are Appealing, We Have a Problem

 Happy Monday! J I know those are two words that usually don’t end up in consecutive order because many of us are not very happy about Mondays, especially Monday mornings, but I do hope that you have a happy Monday.

My Monday began a little different than most workdays. I have recently started tutoring through an online program in the wee hours of the morning, so many of my mornings begin with tutoring. This morning, I only had one tutoring session, so I had about an hour to myself before Riley Grace woke up. This rarely happens. She is usually by my bedside bright and early telling me she’s ready for her oatmeal! But this morning, I had a whole hour to myself! (I know some moms out there are angry and jealous right now for my hour of alone time! Even with only one child, it rarely happens! I know many of you don’t ever have a moment without someone needing you. It’s precious and fulfilling, but also exhausting.)

So, what was I going to do with that hour???

My first thought was….I should open my Bible for some uninterrupted time alone with my Father. This is what I knew I needed to do. However…

My second thought was….I need to be productive!

(Side note: So why did I think spending time with God was not productive???)

As I walked through the living room, I noticed all of my schoolwork (I teach Pre-K) sprawled across the living room. So then, my third thought was….I could finish the planning that I started last night.

Then, I walked through the kitchen to the full sink of dirty dishes. My fourth thought was….I’d really like to finish these dishes before I head to work.

As you can see, I wasted about 10 minutes deciding what to do with my alone time! I cleared my school stuff away and rearranged the sink so that I could get a glass of water. (Does anyone else rearrange the dirty dishes to put off washing them??) And then, I sat down on the couch with my Bible. For the first few minutes of reading, my mind would not quit thinking about the progress I could have been making on my lesson plans. I kept thinking about how nice it would be to come home to a clean kitchen this evening, if I could just do the dirty dishes really quickly before I open my Bible. When have I ever longed to do the dishes? When have I ever woke up desiring to make lesson plans?? When…..well, I’m not sure when, but I’ll tell you why – because I had this desire to be productive, and in the moment, lessons plans and dirty dishes seemed to be more productive activities than spending time with God. Let me say that again.

In the moment, lessons plans and dirty dishes seemed to be more productive activities than spending time with God.

Ouch! That is absolutely awful, foolish, and simply not true! Spending time alone with God and in His Word, praising Him and petitioning Him, is the MOST PRODUCTIVE thing I can do all day. It is the most eternally rewarding. It is the most beneficial for me. It is the most loving thing I can do for my family. It is the most God-honoring activity I can take part in, and yet my body aches to do the other things that would feel more productive to me in the moment, things in which I could see my progress (which I like, as a task-oriented person).

-       READ/STUDY: Read Psalm 33, but in particular, verses 8-9 and 18-19.
-       EVALUATE: Do you fear the Lord? Verse 18 states that His eyes are on those who fear Him. Do you desire for His eyes to be on you, delivering you and sustaining you? Then you need to live a life that fears and honors Him. What areas pull you away from your time with the Lord? What things do you deem to be “more productive?” Do you struggle with wanting to be productive and also wanting to spend time with God, but feeling like “sitting, reading, and praying” are not productive endeavors? I certainly struggle with that feeling. Are there areas of your life where you focus more on temporary things (chores, tasks, etc.) rather than eternal things? I know as women, we have many responsibilities. There are people who depend on us at home, work, church, etc. There are tasks that we absolutely must do for the good of those we love and to whom we are responsible. However, just because time with God doesn’t always feel productive doesn’t mean that it should be neglected! Time with God is vital if you are going to be productive and honor God with any other part of your day! How can you make time with God (in His Word and in focused prayer) a priority, BEFORE everything else you have to do and EVEN THOUGH you have so many other things to do?
-       PRAY: Praise the Lord for creating us with a longing that only He can satisfy. Praise Him that we have full access to Him. We do not have to go through a mediator, as God’s people did in the Old Testament. In America, we have access to the Bible and any study tool we could desire. We can meet and worship freely with fellow believers. We can pray and evangelize in public without fear. We can meet with Him whenever and wherever we like. Thank Him for those privileges! Ask Him to deepen your desire for Him, and beg Him to show you that eternal things are far more important and worthy than the temporary, earthly things we spend time on. Ask Him for an eternal perspective. Ask Him for practical things you can do to prioritize your day in such a way that time with Him is primary.

Happy Monday!

Always, Jacquelyn

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